Friday, October 7, 2011

Looking Beyond the Mark

When you have a blog, a website, and belong to several social networks; you become a target for junk mail. Spam and viruses invade your inbox. Your name ends up on countless mailing lists. Today I received a magazine called “Beyond the Bean” a resource for soybean farmers and distributors.

Golden Rain Tree -- Yellow flower cone stage

Now I know for certain that I’ve never grown soybeans, not even in a pot. I’ve even been allergic to soy, depending on which form it takes. So how did I end up on their mailing list? Deception. Someone told somebody else, who told somebody else, that I was a prospect for their literature (or propaganda as the case may be).

Golden Rain Tree -- Salmon colored papery seed pods

I thumbed through their magazine. Interesting stuff here. What hurts their bottom line? Government regulations that choke and devour profits and production. What else eats into profits? Bad roads and inadequate transportation (infrastructure); no kidding. If you can’t ship product, you can’t sell. If you can’t deliver, people won’t buy. UPS calls it “logistics.”

Reminded me of the difficulty we artists have in getting name recognition and getting our work noticed. In my last blog, I told you I entered a juried contest. Alas, I wasn’t accepted, and I’m still feeling guilty using my poor grandma’s portrait to enter a contest about re purposing garbage.

Knowing local judges and what they like or dislike is key to acceptance. When you’re new in the game, the rules and regulations are difficult to grasp until you enter a few contests and become familiar with the judges.

Rules and regulations are important criteria, but they often mean different things to different people. When we look “beyond the mark” as my title implies, we are sad, but not deterred if we lose. As the adage says: “It’s not if you win or lose, but how you play the game.”

What do I do when I lose? I dust myself off and start again. I do not quit. I do not stop. I keep my eyes on the prize, which is the joy of knowing that I’ve done my best. I compete with myself most of the time. I try to make each painting better than the last. Do I always succeed? No! It’s usually two steps forward, one step back. But I will never quit until there’s at least one foot in the grave. And that my friends is “looking beyond the mark.”

Forgive Carol’s morbidity and check out her bright and lively paintings @